Evolution of a Joking Fitness Nurse™ & Fitness Nurse Consultant™ (And Weightloss Coach)
Nurses (who have entertained the title of possibly "former nurse") interested in fitness and diet and doing your own thing, why should you listen to me? 'Cause I've learned so much "in the trenches" s#*t with fitness and nursing, speaking, writing, developing programs and marketing that I know will help you to decide and get clarity. I want to lessen your learning curve.
Below is a compilation of my journey of my comedy, fitness & nursing. (Get it - Joking-Fitness-Nurse) It's who I am and what I do. It's what's inside of my mind, body and soul.
Here's my bio (cliff notes version):
From bodybuilding to stand-up comedy to clinical nursing to screening hundreds at health fairs to promoting & speaking on health & prevention to creating discovering USP, copywriting, direct sales & marketing and making profits first. I am a "former nurse" because the work I do does not require that I have a nursing license.
I have "nurse" in my title because I work with YOU (a nurse...). I do freelance work as a Fitness Nurse Consultant™ very sparingly but mostly am the Joking Fitness Nurse (JFN) and Weightloss Coach.
When I do work with other nurses, I help them create & promote their micro-niche fitness/diet programs to targeted audiences.
Let's start with my training for my first body building competition in 1981. (I got 3rd place, BTW) I continued to train while in college. I also earned an Athletic Training scholarship while at college. Graduated with a degree in Kinesiology in 1986. Back then, there were about 46 of us out of 40,000 undergraduate students who did so.
The fall season after those comedic presentations, tragedy struck. My beloved mother, best friend, travel partner, cheerleader was gone. She dropped dead while jogging on a treadmill, my father was next to her on his treadmill. She took her last gasping breath in his arms.
6 years before this awful day, (she was actually released from the hospital the morning of 9/11), my mother had the heart attack that revealed all of her other problems.
Since recovering and after cardiac rehab, she did everything that she was told by the standard medical protocols. Even though my family members say that 'exercise' killed my mother, my mother died from malnutrition, increasing insulin levels and inflammation.
She even had osteoporosis! (undiagnosed until she had her heart attack. No one will convince me differently, after what I know now. She was sick and getting sicker, even though she was going to the gym and exercising in a steady-state cardio, 4 days a week and she ate a lot of grains and processed, "she thought healthy" foods, she was struggling with her blood sugars and like I said, she was getting sicker. She believed what the box says, like "heart-healthy". She was also on Avandia® when this happened. Today there are lawsuits proving that Avandia® was connected with heart attacks. My mother needed a nurse experienced in fitness, to monitor her. I have guilt about "dropping the ball".
The tragedy of what happened to my mother (what led up to what happened really) made me look in a different perspective of the same diet and exercise rhetoric. I eventually found an organization that changed the way I thought about everything I ate and the larger picture of our food mess. I knew all along that my nana knew what was best about diet and health. The Weston A. Price foundation cemented my feelings. I began speaking on traditional diets and all healthy fats and avoiding long term medications. It's important to me that you notice the date. I was talking fats and Paleo-type eating almost 10 years ago. People thought I was a "heretic" then too.
<<===My mother Wilma Artis in 1954. Graduating from RN school. She went on to get her BSN, from Seton Hall University in 1959, one of just a few Black women to do so back then. I finally listened to her and went back to school for nursing. Receiving my pin at our pinning ceremony. =====>>>>>
Check out my 20-inch waist, AFTER my son was born!
Nursing opened many doors for me.
But, even with the fitness, health and wellness positions within healthcare, and paid as a R.N.,nursing was still my survival & security; NOT my calling.
After only 3 years in nursing, I knew I had to do something else, (no one seemed to have the same sense of humor that I had) I also wanted to do more health and fitness stuff. So I went to a Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar with Donna Cardillo, RN, back in 1996. This is where I first heard the term "Fitness Nursing". I did what many of you are doing today. I looked for work in the fitness industry and even when I still worked in nursing education, I developed wellness inservices as best as I could. I loved that seminar. I learned how much nurses could do. Donna and I are still good friends today. (But because I first heard the term 'fitness nurse' from her, I decided to create my own term and brand, Fitness Nurse Consultant™, with distinct services and positioning.)
But I still didn't feel right because I didn't need my license to do what I wanted. I digress.
Began working independently and found contract work with companies and hospitals and developed and performed various health & prevention programs. The one below was inservicing health care facilities. I made good money! Even traveled to the Bahamas and other vacation resort places to speak!
Yes, I was a 'beauty queen'. I just wanted to try it. I didn't win. But I didn't get last place either. It was a Mrs. NJ Pageant. Today I am divorced.
Started to get noticed by nursing organizations and companies. Went on the road and spoke on stress, fitness and health. Primarily spoke to nurses and other health care professionals. Didn't call myself a "fitness nurse" yet. Wasn't sure where I was going yet. Doing everything. Started to submit articles for publication.
Great opportunity to pull out the comedy schick again.
I loved this evening we had. All were RN performers.
I continued to speak. To the left, I spoke to nurses on how to "Shape Up at Work".
The room was packed.
Eventually one of the hospitals that I contracted with, hired me on a per diem basis then part time. I was sent to learn this NJ State Health program on osteoporosis and nutrition and exercise for bone health for seniors.
Soon other area hospitals wanted in. I was hired to develop and teach classes at a few hospital's "health awareness centers". Charlie, the PT, to the right, ==>> was great. But it was 'yours truly' who developed the class and taught it and assessed the participants.
They hired me to do this. So, it was their program. That's why my name isn't mentioned.
I helped women of all ages increase their strength, lessen their fear of falling and feel confident about their performing activities of daily living. Helped to maintain their independence.
I only like to work really, really hard for myself, so when I out on my own 'officially', I decided to teach real inservices and 'fun', educational inservices. I targeting health care facilities. But the truth is, I'd talk to 4 rats in a sewer, if they'd listen (and pay...sometimes).
Here's my very first brochure. It was very expensive. Except for certain situations, brochures today are probably obsolete. (I find them useful in what is called a 'slim jim' for doctor's offices. They are worded differently than your 'run of the mill' brochure) My first company 'regular' brochure - 'Jest' for Fitness & Food. Humor-based:
Hired (a company) someone to build my first website. It cost a total of $4,000.00 in 2000. Started producing my own events and even produced 2 exercise videos for osteoporosis prevention (buffbones.com). See the cover for it below. I had 500 VHS copies made and busted my butt, I mean really hustled, to sell all of them. To the left, that's me promoting my new "Bones of Steel" osteoporosis prevention exercise video and Deb Dobies, Dietitian Extraordinaire (assisting me) and at that time, Pat Bemis, RN, newly head of the National Nurse in Business Assocation (NNBA). We were in Las Vegas or Cancun? Today the 'Jest' for Fitness & Food site is no longer up. It was a great run while it lasted. I just was doing too many things.
I was spread way too thin. Focusing on one thing wasn't easy.
Kept speaking on health issues and working for area hospitals on a contract basis. One hospital actually sent me for training at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC after I reasearched a company that certified dance movement therapy for breast cancer survivors. It was called the "Lebed Method". Highly recommend this course. I taught the course that is featured in the flyer to the right. Again, since I was paid for my work, the class belonged to the hospital, so again my name was not mentioned in the flyer. The ladies in this class connected and enjoyed the movement. The morbidly obese were also able to enjoy the benefit of sustained movement without fear of injury or embarrassment.
Forgot to mention that I was also teaching kickboxing and other group exercise classes . My body couldn't handle it any longer, so I took a Pilates class, I loved it and then soon after became certified in Pilates. I had the initials RN, Pilates Instructor behind my name. What happened? I just started teaching Pilates. More classes than I could handle. No one where I worked, in fitness, cared that I was a nurse. Just that I was "certified" in Pilates. I do NOT do this today. I still didn't call myself a fitness nurse at this time.
I taught just about all my Pilates classes to minorities. I wanted to expose this wonderful way of exercising to folks who may never experience it. (I charged from $2.00 a class to $15.00 a class/ person)
The 'fitness nursing' bug was spreading. I started getting calls from writers to be interviewed about 'fitness nursing'. I could only described it to what I was currently doing. It didn't mean that that's what it was meant to be. Today my definition of 'fitness nursing' is entirely different. I now call myself a Fitness Nurse Consultant™
While attending a workshop to get credit for one of many fitness certifications, I sat there listening to the presenter and said, "I could do this". The next thing I did was apply. I had to submit a DVD of my answers to the questions and my teaching style. Soon after, I was approved to teach/train people to become Certified Personal Trainers nationwide. I taught these certifications on the weekends and still taught my own programs that I developed through my company.
During this time, I met the love of my life. And what he said to me once was, "You're such a Hot Little Minky!" The name stuck. I've been called 'Minky' ever since. When we looked it up on the internet, we found an urban dictionary with the definition: "A particularly sexy woman (over age 50)" I added the over age 50 part.
A Minky is NOT a Cougar! I started a "Minky" brand. I wanted to help women over 40 (now 50) with weight loss, trimming down and eating less. These women learned about traditional diets, ALL fats and resistance training. I think things were going well. Not as fast as I hoped, I just needed to get more focused, right?
To the left is the original drawing my Honey drew for me. You can see to the right, the final logo. ===>>
I started working as an Elite Personal Trainer at a high end club. They found out about my prior comedy club performing days and asked me to perform shows in their lounge. Yes, this club (gym) had a bar.
Finally, I started calling myself a 'fitness nurse'. But I was still lost in what I wanted to do. This is evident by all the side hustles I started and stopped from 2008 till just even some months ago. See my business cards below. I went on to call myself a Fitness Nurse Consultant™. Today, I help other nurses develop, design and market their own Signature Fitness programs/services.
With so much varied experience, multiple certifications, too many to list here, 3 full binders of community programs and health fairs and talks while working for hospitals in health & prevention roles, and on my own, let me help you with your road map.
If it's "Where do I start?" to "How come no one came to my exercise class?" to "Where do I get insurance?" to "What do I call myself?" and support you need with all of the ups and downs on this journey from fitness to nursing to fitness nursing... I know I can shorten your learning curve. When it comes to your fitness & diet program design and making a sustainable income doing what you love, don't try to figure it out alone.
Here are some examples of business cards I used in the past years. Some of the ventures were more successful than others. Didn't realize how LOST I was after my mom died. I kept trying to find something to fill that void. So I created many new businesses and told myself that I was 'keeping busy'. Maybe they'll give you some ideas of what to do or what not to do. I hope you learn something, even if it is what NOT to do, I am at your service. Go ahead and laugh if you want. I have. And I continue to laugh at myself. Some days I just crack myself up. It's all good...
(Remember, phone numbers, e-mails and websites on the following cards are NO LONGER in use)
I call myself a A Heretic because like a heretic, I have an unorthodox opinion... Please be my guest and read on. There are business cards that may spark inspiration for you at the bottom of this page. Please note that ALL of the phone numbers, e-mails and websites are no longer in use.
EVOLUTION OF A JOKING FITNESS NURSE™ & FITNESS NURSE CONSULTANT™: (Here's my bio full text & image version):
Lori 'Minky' Radcliffe, A Heretic, The Joking Fitness Nurse & Fitness Nurse Consulting™
This was my very first sign-up. Look at all the attendees I got.
I had to turn staff away! I was so psyched-up! This was back in 1995. I was always interested in employee wellness. It was so much better than talking about fire extinguishers and C. Difficile.
You can see how I wasted so much time, money and effort, NOT getting clear early on. I want to do my own thing with what I know:
To be clear, I am NOW A Heretic who performs as "Minky, The Joking Fitness Nurse"! (see banner below)
I help Recycled Nurses to feel good NOW through creating side hustle projects by doing freelance work in the fitness & diet market. This work involves assisting others (nurses) interested in fitness & diet, to find their USP distinction and make extra money doing what they love.
My fitness & diet Point(s) Of View (P.O.V.):
You have to change from the "Outside In & Act As If" for lasting change to have a chance.
You must Eat Intermittently. Fast mostly (In other words Calorie Restriction). Exercise in a fasted-state once in a while.
I believe "There are NO healthy people... Only people "healthier" than you" (Click Fitness Nurse Consulting™ logo to the right for more info)
I want to engage nurses who feel like I do, and create a SURGE or "Secret Society of Former Nurses" - NOT nurse bashing - just that we all have in common is being a former nurse and we love fitness & diet. A "Recycled Nurse Surge" and start our own side hustles doing what it takes to do what we love.
Here are 2 testimonials from past clients:
Then, the General Fitness Nursing logo:
Fitness Nursing booth at NJ State Nursing Convention in Atlantic City, NJ.
<<===This is NOT Minky in this picture! Just me in the article.
I recommend John Spencer Ellis' courses & Marc David's Food Psychology course. I read some of it monthly. I always go back to it.
I started doing private clients and rented space (brick & morter) in Deal, NJ.
(I changed my Fitness Nurse Consulting business name about 4 or 5 times).
I still managed to get "written up" in a good way. I really enjoyed being interviewed for the article below and discussing my new found food philosophy.
You can and do have opinions that matter and people want to hear how those opinions you have that can change their lives and improve their health.
Still I felt incongruent with my message. I also felt restrained under the "licensed nurse" umbrella.
Today, I only print off 5-10 cards at a time of the card I'm using. None of these are in use any longer.
This was my very
first business card. ===>>
My company, back in 1997, called 'Jest' for Fitness & Food. My father drew the logo. I asked for the dumbbell to be in the front arm and the grapes in the back arm. Oh well, the price of "asking a favor" with family and friends when it comes to your business. But he loved doing it, so I used it anyway. It took him about 3 months to do it. Thanks Dad. Whew.
If you don't want to take forever getting your business off the ground, pay someone to get certain jobs done for you. "Shoestring budget" doesn't
mean 'everything' for free.
(I still own the domain name buffbones.com, now I see people using the term 'buff bones' all over the internet. For the right price, I'll sell it)
I get as much natural Vitamin D as I can during May-October, here at the Jersey Shore. Doing freelance work (not in nursing) has enabled me to do this.
Summers OFF! (if I choose)
I LOVE what I do! Do you?
This is what I did til March 2016, but no longer! Minky, A Heretic, Performer as The Joking Fitness Nurse of and a 30lb. Weightloss Coach
N2K Exercises (Navel to Knuckle)
I will help you lose 30 Lbs. More than that is way too serious for me.
MINKY IS A "PERSONA/CHARACTER" WHO DOES NOT DO THIS TYPE OF WORK ANY LONGER. BUT THIS PAGE IS KEPT UP FOR HISTORICAL ACCURACY